Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

I love Breastfeeding

So I think we've reached a new and awesome place with breastfeeding. I know before I complained about it hurting a lot (which it did, at first) and him eating so frequently (which he still does, on occasion). But here at five weeks postpartum, things are looking up--so much so that I find myself really loving it, now.

James is getting a lot better at latching and eating. He can now (usually) latch himself back on when he pops off and can do so pretty well. He also is getting a lot faster and more effective at emptying the breast, so he doesn't tend to eat for nearly as long as he did at first. In the first week or two, it would take him 30 (sometimes even 45) mins to finish a good meal--now he can be done in 15-20 mins, and his snacks which used to be 15 mins are now 5.

I can now breastfeed in many different positions--I can go from sitting to standing, I don't rely on the boppy pillow anymore, but can hold him myself pretty comfortably. I can pretty much take him around with me while he is feeding (of course, I only have one arm free, tops, but it is better than being tied to the couch and not really having any freedom).

And it doesn't hurt much anymore at all. The initial latch/letdown is still slightly uncomfortable--but the letdown sensation is uncomfortable whether he is eating or not (and can be triggered by very funny things--like just a passing thought of him or glancing at a picture of him. But within about a minute of him starting to nurse, breastfeeding is pretty much totally comfortable now.

With this comfort is coming a love. Those prolactin hormones get released and I relax and zone out, often while staring into his beautiful blue eyes. I get lost in how beautiful he is, how amazing it is that I am feeding him . . .

And the breastfeeding relationship is really special too. I think it helps my confidence as a mother. The process of becoming a mother is so surreal. People have asked me what it feels like to be a mother and I still don't feel like I am one.

I gave birth, REALLY?
I have a baby, are you SERIOUS?
Who left this kid here?

I still feel like that. Sometimes it is easy to question if someone else couldn't care for him just as effectively (if not more).

But breastfeeding is like continual proof that I am, indeed, the mother of this beautiful baby, and actually the most qualified person to take care of him, the one who knows him best, who loves him best. Breastfeeding means that I am a unique person in James' world--no one else can do that for him. I think this helps the strange journey into motherhood--it reinforces that I am different in myself and special to this baby--that I HAVE changed into a mother, no matter how strange that seems to my intellect.

The last thing that is amazing about the breastfeeding relationship is how much James loves it. The absolute best moments for him is when he is eating. When he is crying and I lay him on my lap and start to get ready to feed him, he gets quiet and expectant.

In the article I posted a while back, "Breastfeeding in the land of Genghis Khan," the author talks about how in Western culture, we are focused on figuring out why the baby cries and therefore, the right solution. But she says, "In Mongolia, babies might cry for many reasons, but there is only ever one solution--breastfeeding." This quote pops into my mind all the time now. James wants to eat when he is hungry, obviously. But he also wants to eat when he is tired (and it puts him right to sleep), he wants to eat if he is cold (the breasts are very warm and will actually change in temperature if they sense even a one degree drop in the baby's temp), if he is uncomfortable, etc.

Never has there been a situation when James is crying, and nursing will not console him. No matter what is wrong, breastfeeding makes it better, stops the crying, and turns a fussy baby into a happy one.

Most recently and adorably, James has started to smile--but only while he is nursing (and I just see the corner of his mouth turn up as he pauses from his eating to smile about it, still latched on), or when he has finished a good meal and he is very full and content, he just smiles and smiles. I don't think it is voluntary yet, but breastfeeding makes my boy uncontrollably smile, and it is just too much for me and his Dad.

All these things are wrapping together to form a deep love of this method of feeding and the relationship that is borne out of it. I can only imagine how much I will love it when time goes on even more, and the difficulties continue to fall away while the benefits continue to stack up.


clare on earth said...

I think it's pretty impressive that you can convey your feelings so eloquently, especially being a new momma.

justadrienne said...

Thanks Clare-Bear! I'm sick, you should come visit us and I'll pay you back for all the times you infected me, LOL! No but when I feel better you should come over, I miss you! (And bring Stevie!)

Ella said...

So sweet, Adrienne - I couldn't agree more. I think I would feel lost without the wonderful BFing relationship Eliza and I have!

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